"Is there such a thing as an African economic model?" This was one of the questions discussed in the just concluded New York Forum Africa in Libreville, Gabon that saw more than 600 international opinion leaders from business, economics, and politics meet with their counterparts on the African continent to foster crucial connections for potential partnerships. The question -- which challenges Africa to look inward and offer unique value to the globe -- ought to send African policy makers and economists back to the drawing table.
The Western world’s model enshrined in the Bretton Woods institutions has enabled the West to transact global trade and advance the West’s agenda. The People's Republic of China has juggled the West’s model with communism to evolve a hybrid model that has catapulted it to global dominance.
Having seen and experienced the pros and cons of various economic and governance models both on the continent and in the countries of origin, Africa is well placed to evolve its economic model. A good place to begin would be to study how Libya managed its resources to uplift the living standards of its people. The country had no external debt and had reserves amounting to $150 billion. Every Libyan oil sale was credited directly to the bank accounts of all Libyan citizens. This is proof that with foresight, the continent can take care of its own. The continent consequently ought to juggle the existing models with the prosperity of African people in mind.
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